JVL response to JLM antisemitism training

JVL response to JLM antisemitism training

In a climate of rising ethno-nationalism and race hate, including against Jews, the Labour Party has a serious responsibility to educate its members to be dedicated fighters against antisemitism and all forms of racism and discrimination. How it does this is a matter of concern to us all.

There is an obligation, therefore, to look critically at the “Understanding Antisemitism” training sessions in which many of us participated on 10th and 14th June.

This is Jewish Voice for Labour’s (JVL’s) initial response to two online sessions delivered to around 500 role-holders and 5000 other Labour Party members by the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).

We plan a more detailed evaluation in due course incorporating reflections from many of those who took part.

Here we outline how JVL understands the task of education on antisemitism and make some provisional comments about the JLM’s approach.

Context: Anti-racism, antisemitism and the Labour Party

JVL is dedicated to campaigning against racism and discrimination in all its forms. Growing ethno-nationalist tendencies in political life, in Britain as elsewhere, pose serious threats to many already vulnerable groups. Forms of racism and discrimination are widespread at all levels in our society – towards Black people, Jews, Muslims, members of Gipsy, Roma and Traveller communities, people of colour and those with multiple identities.  Antisemitism is present, thankfully at a relatively low level compared with other hatreds, but we need to be alert to the dangers of it returning in militant forms to our political and social life. Brought up in the shadow of the Holocaust and the knowledge of centuries of oppression and exclusion, we cannot and must never forget this.

In our view education about antisemitism needs to be part of, and consistent with, a framework for the delivery of education about racism and discrimination as a whole.

As Shami Chakrabarti said in her 2016 report:

“…it is not my view that narrow anti-racism training programmes are what is required. There is a grave danger that such an approach would seem patronising or otherwise insulting rather than truly empowering and enriching for those taking part.”

Chakrabarti Report 2016 p 6

To achieve lasting change an educational approach is needed, built around dialogue and reflection, promoting people’s capacity to monitor their own behaviour and intervene appropriately when observing discriminatory conduct in others. Education requires us to set aside power differences, encouraging people to speak freely and reflect on their previous understandings. Education requires the provision of safe spaces in which people can express their uncertainties, doubts and concerns without fear of sanction for getting it wrong.

These are the principles that inform JVL’s own education sessions, as many past participants can testify. It would appear that the Labour Party leadership takes a very different view, promoting a single approach irrespective of levels of understanding, as reflected in its Action Plan on Antisemitism and the way it implements its disciplinary processes.  Commissioning JLM to run the current training exercise is part and parcel of this narrow approach, as we explain below.

JLM as antisemitism trainer

The sessions were largely delivered by JLM’s National Organiser, Rebecca Filer, with introductions by Chair Mike Katz and – for the June 14 session – by Deputy Party Leader Angela Rayner. They were delivered in Zoom webinar format in which the speaker and a series of slides were visible, but attendees could not be seen or heard. There was almost no time for questions, and those that were chosen were read out by a presenter. It was a hyper-controlled environment and the large numbers involved allowed no scope for interaction between participants. There was no indication that other forms of education were planned where this would be possible.

The resulting one-way transmission of statistics and information has its place if the intention is to instruct participants on how to think and act, but it is not a substitute for education. When it is delivered by an organisation with its own very particular ideological standpoint – one not shared by large numbers of Jews and very many other members of our movement – it is particularly questionable.

The JLM was introduced to participants as the Labour Party’s Jewish affiliate. There was no mention of its core principles, as outlined in its Rule Book, which “promote the centrality of Israel to Jewish life” and seek “To maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel.”  JLM therefore brings with it to the training process the assumption that the diverse communities of UK Jews share one point of view about Israel and Palestine. There is no room for non-Zionist Jews or for those orthodox Jews for whom Judaism, rather than Israel, occupies the centre of their Jewish life.

This is the background to the role JLM has played in the party’s factional politics over the past five years,

Training content

The presentations themselves were confident, articulate and engaging, but delivered at such speed as to give the impression that the aim was to get through the material rather than to encourage learning.

A number of participants reported finding the presentations superficial, patronising and confusing rather than enlightening – exemplifying precisely the danger highlighted by Chakrabarti.

Documents displayed included a range of disturbing antisemitic images, both historical and contemporary. They illustrated anti-Jewish tropes such as the medieval myth that Jews crucified Christian children to use their blood in Passover rituals, and conspiracy theories holding Jews responsible for the world’s evils and attributing to them malign power over finance, media and governments. Much of the material dated back to before the Second World War. All but two of the more recent examples had emanated from extreme right-wing organisations. There was discussion, quite rightly, of physical attacks on Jews, rare though they are in the UK. A series of photographs was shown of places where extreme and murderous violence against Jews has taken place – none of them in the UK.

The net effect of presenting this material was to support a quite exaggerated view of the ongoing threat that antisemitism presents to British Jews.

There was no discussion of the many instances where an image or statement gives rise to dispute about whether it is antisemitic or not, and therefore no help for Labour Party members anxious to determine whether their own or other people’s conduct is – as so often alleged – making the party an unwelcoming place for Jews.

The approach seemed designed to stir up fear as a way of justifying harsh punitive measures against individuals, rather than using evidence-based debate to challenge ideas.

The failure to consider the real type and extent of threats to Jews, in relation to those suffered by other vulnerable groups, sits uncomfortably with Labour’s publicly proclaimed broad anti-racist stance.

Other forms of racism

The prevalence of anti-Muslim racism and the broad antiracist context was briefly referred to in the presentations, primarily in comment on a slide showing that antisemitic incidents in the UK were considerably less prevalent than those inspired by Islamophobia.

The JVL view is that there is no place for a “hierarchy of racisms” in the Labour Party, or in society. The priority must be to speak out when particular groups’ grievances are amplified by the media and by those in power while others are seriously downplayed. The aim must be to build solidarity between all those who suffer discrimination and oppression, rather than encourage some to seek solutions at the expense of others.

This crucial awareness was absent from the presentations, which tended to interpret data about the racist threat to Jews and others in a superficial and sometimes skewed fashion.

For example, comments made while showing a graph highlighting increases in antisemitic incidents reported by the Community Security Trust over recent years, took no account of the rise of social media in that period and the resulting increase in every sort of abuse. The data indicated that 84 percent of incidents were to do with online abusive behaviour – a highly significant statistic that was noted without comment by the presenter.

They did, however, make a point of remarking upon the data showing a steep rise in one particular period, saying: “Then in 2018, 2019 and 2020 you have the environment within the Labour Party and the overspill into antisemitic incidents.”

This strongly implied that Jews in society were at risk because of the internal party situation as the JLM see it.  There is absolutely no evidence for this.

Stereotyping “The Jewish Community”

Constructive education requires us to set aside discriminatory assumptions. The tendency to treat ethnic communities as monolithic wholes, for example, compounds the very stereotypes we must learn to avoid. References to “The Jewish Community” as if it were one undifferentiated bloc, as occurred repeatedly during the presentations, fall into this category.

Despite a nod towards acknowledging diversity among UK Jews in terms of physical appearance, culture and religious practice, there was no mention by the JLM trainers of the huge range of opinions Jews have always held, about UK politics and – crucially in this context – about Israel, Palestine and Zionism.

There was no reference to the fact that not all Jews are Zionists, and the majority of Zionists are not Jews, their numbers boosted by millions of Christian Evangelicals in the US and around the world.

Defining antisemitism

There can be – and indeed there are! – raging controversies about how antisemitism is defined. More than 300 eminent academics in relevant fields of study, most of them Jewish, have endorsed the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism as an alternative to the IHRA working definition promoted by the JLM and other pro-Israel lobbyists. There was no mention of this by the training presenters, nor any reference to the battles fought over the working definition in 2018, when it was alleged that failure to adopt without question all 11 examples attached to it was itself evidence of antisemitism – an allegation used to destabilise Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

Party members have been suspended for arguing against the IHRA definition. Yet there was no discussion about it, only an assertion that it placed ‘an important emphasis on context’.  The trainer did not offer any explanation as to why many party members have been disciplined without any reference to the context of their statements or social media postings.

Discussing Israel/Palestine

The presenter addressed the question of what could be said about Israel/Palestine without being antisemitic. We agree on a number of the points made, while noting that the idea of a checklist of unsayable things contradicts the claimed ‘emphasis on context’.

It is correct to say that the slogan ‘Free Gaza, Free Palestine’ is not antisemitic and that blaming Jews for what Israel does is wrong.  But the picture is complicated by the fact that Israel so often claims to be acting for all the world’s Jews (and many of its most vociferous supporters in the UK concur).

Members were told not to use the terms Jew, Israeli and Zionist interchangeably – advice with which we agree. But in certain contexts it may be understandable for people to commit this error without any malign intent, since supporters of Israel make this elision all the time. It is unjust for a Labour Party member employing the word ‘Zionist’ to be accused of really meaning ‘Jew’ and find themselves facing disciplinary charges.

This example illustrates how important it is to recognize the relevance of intent – not mentioned during the JLM training – when deciding if a statement is antisemitic or not. The Party recently published a Complaint Handling Handbook including the NEC Code of Conduct on Antisemitism which states: “even contentious views … will not be treated as antisemitism unless accompanied by specific antisemitic content (such as the use of antisemitic tropes) or by other evidence of antisemitic intent.” Many members have suffered from bad faith complaints against them that ignore this, as highlighted in the ongoing legal action by Labour Activists 4 Justice.

These complexities cannot be ignored if genuine understanding is to be promoted. There must be space for teasing out difficult issues, evaluating evidence critically. It needs to be specifically acknowledged that some issues are genuinely controversial. There can be disagreements on the interpretation of images, comments and behaviours without this necessarily being evidence of underlying racism – and where there is, it should be demonstrated, not asserted. Recognition of this was absent from the JLM training sessions.

Being Jewish in the Labour Party

 The way the presentations were framed was particularly tendentious. A number of politically partisan assertions were made at the beginning and end of the sessions, include serious misrepresentations of the situation for Jewish Labour Party members.

Participants were told the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report concluded that the Party was not a ‘safe space’ for Jews. It did not reach any such conclusion. There were no findings against Jeremy Corbyn, no finding that antisemitism was widespread in the Party, and no finding that the Party had victimised anyone for being Jewish.

Participants were told that two Jewish MPs were ’hounded out’ of the Party by antisemitic and misogynistic bullying, implying that the left of the Party was responsible. No evidence was provided for this claim.

It was asserted that Jewish members ‘suddenly’ felt unwelcome in their CLPs and that the party culture around antisemitism had become ‘toxic’ – but ‘the vast majority of Labour Party members aren’t racist.’ If the latter statement is true, for which we believe there is considerable evidence, then the former cannot be. In any case such unevidenced statements by people leading a session of this kind are a form of political grandstanding which has no place in an education programme.

What to do if you experience or witness antisemitism

At the end of the presentations, participants were advised to report incidents to either the police, the Community Security Trust, or to the Governance and Legal Unit via the Party’s website. (GLU is the unit that investigates complaints and presents cases to the National Executive Committee and National Constitutional Commission for decision.)

We were pleased by the presenter’s suggestion that attempts should be made to engage with a person whose behaviour is problematic, pointing out how it could be interpreted in a way that is hurtful to Jewish people. As long as there is a level of good faith, we would recommend providing education and debate of the nuanced kind that we advocate, from which all those involved would benefit.

Unfortunately the primary response recommended in the sessions was to jump straight to potentially punitive options, ignoring two salient facts – that complaints to GLU against members on the left of the party have resulted (as Labour Activists for Justice can testify) in many cases of harassment of members, including Jews, unjustly accused; and that conversely, some valid complaints (usually from those on the left) of antisemitism and other forms of bullying and racism, have been ignored.

Disciplinary action should, as recommended in Shami Chakrabarti’s 2016 report, be considered only after other approaches have failed. This is especially important in the Labour Party whose disciplinary processes have been found to be seriously wanting – not least by the EHRC .

Overview

Although billed as “Antisemitism Awareness Education”, these JLM-run webinars bear no relation to awareness-raising sessions encountered elsewhere. While posing as authoritative, they too often relied on superficial, unsupported assertions. Issues that have been intensely controversial in the Labour Party were glossed over. The selection of material was slanted in a way that exaggerated the threat to Jews in the UK – a stance more likely to generate panic and alarm than engagement.

Oft-repeated allegations, such as about the bullying of Jewish MPs apparently by the left, were asserted without any evidence or context being given. We will be looking in detail at these and other examples in a separate analysis in the coming days.

The stated intention to make the Labour Party a welcoming place for Jews is hard to take seriously when at least 25 Jewish members have been investigated, given reminders of behaviour, suspended or expelled under the regime that JLM helped to usher in and consolidate. Awarding the training franchise to JLM is part of the same sectarian policy as the refusal to allow any alternative voices on the Party’s Advisory Board on Antisemitism.

Jewish Voice for Labour does not do training. We do education. You can find out about it here.

 

 

 

Comments (34)

  • Marilyn Payne says:

    Spot on.

  • Bernie Bosnyak says:

    I agree that the presentation felt rushed, as thought they were anxious to get their message across without debate. I felt as though the views were rather ‘hysterical’ rather than balanced. There were only 2 questions answered and no suggestion that all of those not answered would be in a follow up email or session. I asked them to explain the difference between anti Semitic and anti Zionist, which I think is a very important point, but this aspect was not addressed at all. Additionally only JLM were quoted as a resource, no mention of JVL.

  • Allan Howard says:

    Slightly off topic…..

    The following is a clip from the latest Medialens post:

    By the time Jeremy Corbyn stood for the leadership of the Labour Party in May 2015, he had been a Labour MP for 32 years. As a leading anti-war voice, he had received plenty of attention and abuse from corporate politics and media.

    We searched the ProQuest media database for national UK newspaper articles containing mentions of ‘Corbyn’ and ‘anti-semitism’ before 1 May 2015. The search found 18 articles, none of which accused Corbyn of anti-semitism. Then, in November 2019, the month before the last general election, we searched for mentions of ‘Corbyn’ and ‘anti-semitism’ after 1 May 2015. We got 15,857 hits. The figure currently stands at 21,919.

    This represents a truly awesome, in fact unprecedented, propaganda assault on a democratic politician…….

    https://www.medialens.org/2021/that-is-actually-bollocks-20-propaganda-horrors-from-20-years-of-media-lens-part-1/

    An unprecedented black propaganda assault on democracy in fact! And if the Jewish newspapers were included, it would no doubt be 25,000-plus! I just this minute did a search on the Jewish Chronicle’s website re >jeremy corbyn< between 2015 and 2021 – ie up untill the present – and there were 2,519 hits. I then did a search as of from 1983 – when Jeremy first became an MP – and 2014, and there were 77 hits/articles. I'm not gonna bother getting my calculator out, but that amounts to approximately 350 articles a year between 2015 and the present, and about 2.3 articles a year PRIOR to that!

    NB I just checked out some of the pre-2015 articles, and they tend to just mention JC in passing, as in the following article:

    Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through central London as the backlash against Israel's military action in Gaza continued to be felt on the streets of Britain this week.

    Protesters from groups including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War marched from BBC's New Broadcasting House to Hyde Park. Speakers included MPs Jeremy Corbyn, David Ward and Shabana Mahmood.

    https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/from-outraged-to-outrageous-protest-spills-over-into-hatred-1.56156?highlight=jeremy+corbyn

  • Allan Howard says:

    Re my initial comment, one of the very first articles posted – on March 5, 2009 – was headlined: ‘Hate-group MP acts to close website’, and the following are a couple of clips from it:

    Swift action by an MP has closed down a website containing virulently antisemitic material.

    The website, http://www.catholicvoice.co.uk, was closed by BT last Friday after Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism, told the telecoms company about its offensive content……

    As of Wednesday, there were 29 signatories to the motion [the EDM], including Jeremy Corbyn and Glenda Jackson.

    https://www.thejc.com/news/uk/hate-group-mp-acts-to-close-website-1.7997?highlight=jeremy+corbyn

    PS and here’s the EDM in question:

    https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/37996

  • Ted Alleyne says:

    I thought Rebecca Filer’s presentation was pretty good in fact, but Mike Katz’s introduction was deeply sectarian and dishonest. The EHRC report does not say what he claimed, and most of the procedural problems it flagged up preceded Corbyn’s leadership.

  • Jenny Mahimbo says:

    Any racism awareness sessions should be interactive/participatory and ongoing. A one-hour webinar is Just tickboxing, with no prospect of increasing understanding or changing behaviour – it is managerialist neo-liberal training. For instance, the racism awareness educatoin sessions I attended when working for Birmingham CIty council were an initial 37 hr delivered in a week, and then regular bi-yearly top-ups of 1 or 2 days. It was seriously challenging. 30 years later I still remember the lessons learned and just consider myself to be an aspiring anti-racist, not the finished article – the job is never done, learning is continuous. I enjoyed the session delivered by JVL to Labour International Left Alliance members recently. I’d like more please.

  • chris wallis says:

    Thank you for going. I couldn’t bear the idea. I attaended a JVL session in Manchester which was extremely helpful and educational. I certainly don’t need antisemitism ‘training’ from a bunch of self-confessed Zionists.

  • Jim McNeill says:

    Thank you for this piece…I look forward to reading future analysis.

  • Sabine Ebert-Forbes says:

    It was rushed through, it felt like being talked at rather than to. Presentation consisted in the main of slides , stats and pictures, no reflection, no interaction with participants,important issues being ignored, ie Palestine, IHRA . I had toyed with the idea to ask about the Jerusalem Declaration re Antisemitism, but whenever people might have wanted to ask questions or to delve deeper into an issue, time constraint and the high number of people was presented as the excuse not to. Oh and Russia was also blamed at some point. This was not education or awareness building this was in my book an attempt at indoctrination.
    It was a world apart from the brilliant training and awareness building facilitated last year by Eran and Keziah .

  • Les Hartop says:

    Paraphrasing Mike Katz, he maintained that denial or downplaying of the overwhelming antisemitism problem in the Labour Party is AS BAD (his emphasis) as deliberately commiting an antisemitic act.

    I was considering following the advice in the presentation and bringing a complaint against him through the Governance and Legal Unit (aside- must be the biggest team inside HQ by now), because said that “the VAST MAJORITY of Labour Party members are not racist”… clearly denying that the Labour Party has a serious problem with antisemitism.

    The only thing stopping me from doing this, is that it could imply that I believe we have an overwhelming problem with antisemitism, when in fact currently we have a problem with Zionism which is attempting to overwhelm us, obstruct us from winning elections, crippling free speech and internal democracy and distorting party policy on the Middle East.

    JLM played a lot on their historic links with the Labour Party… they are very proud of it and use it to authority to everything they say.
    They used to (since 1901) go by the name Poale Zion.
    Take a read of this Wikipedia summary and you’ll see that they really have an appalling amount to be ashamed of…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poale_Zion

  • Jack T says:

    It’s important that there should be no ambiguity over Zionism. Zionism is racism, no ifs or buts. This must be made clear to the Labour Party and in particular to the JLM who as a Zionist group should not even be allowed to be members of the LP. The basis of Zionism is that Jews will inherit Palestine and that only Jews have right to self-determination in Palestine. This is clearly racist and many Jews reject it.

  • I agree with much, but not all, of this. These ‘education’ sessions take place in the context of the weaponisation of antisemitism since 2015. A campaign which was never about antisemitism.

    However I disagree with the trite statement that ‘The JVL view is that there is no place for a “hierarchy of racisms” in the Labour Party, or in society.’

    There are major and substantive differences between different forms of racism, such that I have recently argued that anti-Semitism in Britain, the USA and most of Western Europe can no longer be considered a form of racism as opposed to a marginal prejudice.

    Racism is about power, it is state directed and inflicted by the agencies of the State with secondary groups such as fascists feeding off it. There is no sense in which British Jews suffer from any state or police racism.

    To paraphrase A Sivanandan, there is the racism that kills, the racism that discriminates and the racism of tropes.

    I know Jewish racism is the big unmentionable but I suspect that if those who regularly poll Muslims about their views of Jews would engage in the opposite exercise the findings would be of massive anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism.

    Finally I don’t know if antisemitism is increasing. I somehow doubt it. But the one group that CANNOT be relied on is the CST. It is clearly a project of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Mossad.

    I don’t know why no one seems to have picked up on Tony Lerman’s chapter in JVP’s ‘On Antisemitism’ book where he describes how his own collection of statistics on antisemitic incidents at the IJPR was hijacked by Mossad, the equivalent of MI6.

    Now why do you think Israel’s spy agency should be interested in antisemitism in Britain if not as part of a wider political project?

    Why Anti-Semitism is no longer a form of racism but a Marginal Prejudice confined to the fascist fringe
    The major cause of anti-Semitism in Britain today is the Board of Deputies & those who claim to represent Britain’s Jews whilst supporting Zionist War Crimes
    https://azvsas.blogspot.com/2021/06/why-anti-semitism-is-no-longer-form-of.html

  • Joseph Hannigan says:

    Thanks for this,most helpful.

  • Colin Camobell says:

    It felt like a box ticking exercise.
    I think JVL’s response was good. Momentum released some films addressing AS a few years ago that I felt were less patronising. Also CLP’s we’re encouraged to invite JLM and not JVL. Creating more division.

  • Mark Edon says:

    Completely agree.

    I found the “training” an oversimplified broadcast series of snippets of patronising and sometimes self contradicting glimpses of a complicated picture.

    The repeated openly factional and in evidenced attacks and assertions on the left of the party were distasteful and in my view undermined any claims to authority.

    Claims of being the only and longtime Jewish voice in labour were disturbing and the fact that the JLM was defunct for decades, only reactivating the day Corbyn was elected, was carefully avoided.

  • Paul Crowther says:

    This chimes so well with my own reactions.
    The introduction was factional with damning assertions and implications. Partisan – and in places false, particularly the misrepresentation of the EHRC Report.
    The lecture barely addressed the issues specific to Labour in recent years.
    The overriding sense was an intent to affirm the story of large scale left wing aggression against Jewish Labour members. A narrative contrary to the evidence.
    Where you might hope for light and wisdom there was narrow didacticism.

  • Simon Cohen says:

    Excellent review. All of this could, of course, have been written in advance.

    That is was propaganda exercise devoid of any real educational value clinging to a fallacious concept of antisemitism was entirely predictable.

    It is basically training for using AS as a political smear tool.

  • Vaughan Melzer says:

    Thank you for this intelligent analysis. I decided not to attend the ‘education’ class because I could not see why anti-semitism was privileged over anti-Muslim, or racism towards people of colour etc.. Your first comment almost was that this was in itself a form of racism whereby protecting jewish people was more important than protecting millions of other people who are inferiorised by racist ideas.

  • Janet Crosley says:

    I agree totally with this response.
    First thought at the end was , a waste of time. I appears to be an attempt to blame JC for the situation, and exonerate the MPs who left the party.
    Rushed , a lecture ,not training.
    I didn’t expect anything more actually.

  • Margaret West says:

    Well done to those who attended and who contributed to the analysis of the two sessions!

    It was then as we feared – devoted to the promotion of ONE view and in the process – ignoring others.

  • Barbara Street says:

    I’m really pleased to read this. Excellent analysis. I felt the training was simplistic and patronising. A wasted opportunity

  • Sylvia Cohen says:

    This response tunes in precisely with my thoughts and feelings about the session I watched on 14th June. For me the session was purely didactic, with, as the response notes, no real allowance for questions which might interrogate some of the basic assumptions which have been touched upon. I would also emphasise a couple of points: there was slide showing “Free Palestine: Free Gaza” ( which was acknowledged as legitimate) and two other images illustrating how this non antisemitic image could morph into antisemitism. This was presented in such a way that someone could easily come away with the impression that Free Palestinian poster and the flag could be construed as antisemitic.
    Also when Rebecca was talking about the JPR poll she did not clearly point to where the poll made clear that there is no more antisemitism in the Labour Party than in the general population – if anything, there is less.

  • Paul Wilkinson says:

    That’s an excellent summary of what was a patronising and superficial event. I learned nothing, could not discuss anything, could not engage with any others as they were anonymous, and it was delivered at such breakneck speed and in an entirely didactic manner it allowed for no reflection or exploration. It ended up being, quite frankly, boring. As an educational event it was extremely poor. As a former teacher I can confidently say that Ofsted would have hammered it!

  • mick kennedy says:

    Do many Christian Zionists, especially American, desire to live permanently in Israel?

  • Chris Proffitt says:

    The session sounded more like indoctrination than education. Hope they don’t get involved with schools…the thought is terrifying.

  • Noel Brassey says:

    This is broadly what I thought of the “Training” I believe the JVL would have provided a more objective and relevant session. I will be making my thoughts known to the Labour party but expect them to be ignored as they have been on all previous occasions

  • Hazel Davies says:

    The presentation as described here sounds exactly like the one I attended back in 2016, which led to the suspension of Jackie Walker and which featured in the Al Jazeera documentary. I found it patronising and insulting: as though we would not know already the basis of antisemitism in Europe or that we were in any danger of spreading such tropes. The centrally of Israel as part of ‘Jewish identity’ was also pushed. As a “training session’ the whole thing was totally misconceived.

  • Marjorie Kelly says:

    I watched the antisemitism Zoom webinar but found it very basic. I was hoping to learn about the more nuanced forms of antisemitism wich I may be guilty of.

    The “education”, seemed to me to promote the victimhood of the Jewish population. I agree the Jewish population, historically, has often been subject to antisemitism which has resulted in terrible crimes. I don’t see those crimes happening in the Labour Party now or in the population at large. However I do see racism against the African, Asian and Muslim population on a weekly basis. I think training for Islamaphobia would be more appropriate.

  • Hassan says:

    Would they describe Palestinians that feel aggrieved by Israel because they or theyre relatives have been negatively impacted by it as antisemitic ? Its been rightly pointed out that its wrong to associate all Jewish people with Israel, maybe even described as being antisemitic, but then some, like JLM, assert “the centrality of Israel to Jewish life.” So which is it ?

  • Roshan Pedder says:

    I’m intrigued. Did the people above who attended this session run by JLM really expect anything other than what they got? Then surely that is being naive in the extreme. If they attended knowing it would be a sham but were willing to sit through this then I’d suggest they are masochists. If on the other hand if they subjected themselves to this farce in order to enlighten the rest of us not able to make this sacrifice, I salute you!

  • Nadia Amara says:

    In my view the whole focus on this JLM propaganda affords it attention it does not warrant or deserve. It is a racist project, prioritising racism against white people, marginalising the main thrust of racism in our society, not to mention the underlying agenda of promoting the racist ideology of zionism.
    Rather than responding to it, I think the left should be arguing in the LP for the urgent need to challenge Islamophobia, particularly in the light of recent leadership assertions about Muslims being antisemitic.

  • Di Allen says:

    Thank you for this report. It certainly supported my decision not to attend the JLM training. My initial thought, when the training was announced was ‘How on earth can antisemetic training be achieved in an hour?’ I have attended many genres of ‘anti’ training throughout my career, most were at least 6 days, some were as long as an academic term. All of them were a mix of information, role play, small discussion groups with feedback to the other groups, questionnaires which were discussed the following day/week and time for questions and answers each session.

    I have never experienced training where there was no participation by the attendees nor where the trainers spoke for the whole session, nor where there appeared to be a fixed, underlying agenda.

    Those who attended seemed to have similar thoughts regarding the so called training by JLM. It is so sad seeing the way the Labour Party is becoming so dictatorial and undemocratic. I believe JVL also offered to undertake a similar educational course but was ignored by the leaders of the Party. Even more disturbing is the diktat(one of many)from our unelected General Secretary banning CLP’s from using JVL to give antisemetic training to their members.

    I’m not sure of the way forward from this training and I do worry that some who attended may now be totally confused about antisemetism, Zionism, Israel and what is ok to say and what may be called out as antisemetic.

    Fingers crossed for change after the Batley and Spen by-election!

  • Anne Davies says:

    Well put. I was unable to do the session on the night but watched the recording. There was an assertion by the trainer that Israel was being singled out in branch meetings, for its human rights record, which he deemed antisemitic and implied that we but gave absolutely no evidence.

  • rc says:

    “The resulting one-way transmission of statistics and information has its place if the intention is to instruct participants on how to think and act, but it is not a substitute for education. ” This comment from JVL’s piece is unduly charitable. The statistics are not informative, since the questions asked to establish the breadth and/or depth of AS in the UK have little rationale and less justification. They are little, if at all, better than a string of Shibboleths – a most unfortunate precedent. To agree, for example, that ‘the Holocaust’ has been exaggerated is by itself no evidence of AS – it may simply demonstrate a knowledge of Hilberg, Reitlinger, Friedlander, Browning, Cesarani’s big (and arguably his best) book. At least that item does not directly (but perhaps by implication?) solicit racist stereotypes about Jews. Others do. Answers or responses are not subdivided, let alone analysed. Where are the responses indicating opposition to this and other racist stereotypes ? Where are the responses along the lines of “it depends on what you mean?” Where are the responses along the lines of “which Jews are you asking about – employers? or employees? in the rag trade?” “”what do you mean by ‘contributing to British society’? “Do you think all tax accountants contribute to British society a a whole?” “What do you mean by ‘British society a a whole’ – all equally or mainly the capitalist class?” If such responses were received, but not reported, it is a gross disgrace. If no such responses were received, it is a different sort of disgrace, reflecting either an appallingly low level of even the crudest and most basic ‘liberal’ or ‘bourgeois-democratic’ principles among the – presumably representative – sample, or a gross defect in the construction of the sample and the drafting of questions and over the interpretation of responses – or both. More available I fear.. but for now -= that’s all folks!

Comments are now closed.